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October 10, 2004



You Wrote:

But the Air Force is a pilot culture, and they're loathe to let the unwashed steer a plane. How to break the barrier?

Give Predators to the Army and the Marines.


While I'm happy that you gave space to the ethical issues that arise, in real life (that is, in Iraq) we don't even know how many civilians we have killed with current weapons. What makes you think there would be any congressional investigation, when there hasn't been any interest in Congress for finding out how many Iraqi children we have killed now?


What would they say?

This is easy to answer: The civils where islamic Al-Qaeda terrorist carrying WOMD like nuclear warheads. No Problemo, whatsoever.

Robert Speirs

How many Iraqi children are alive now who would without us have been dead?

It seems likely that a Predator could be more easily and effectively programmed to follow rules of engagement than a pilot. That's not accounting for the rogue robot scenario, where a swarm of Predators decides men are unnecessary. Calling Michael Crichton -

Hank Roberts

Tangentially -- the soldiers who are maintaining the Predators are relying on donations for their flashlights, batteries, coffee ...

Viz: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=UBB1&Number=798195&Forum=All_Forums&Words=predator%20squad&Searchpage=0&Limit=25&Main=784352&Search=true&where=bodysub&Name=&daterange=1&newerval=1&newertype=m&olderval=&oldertype=&bodyprev=#Post798195

Probably the 'long tail' of support, the little things individuals need, gets less attention than the fat head of the curve where the mega-dollar munitions are bought.


The point of my post was that we don't know how many children have died, because we are not even counting.

I think that without a massive advance in AI, it is impossible to "program" the rules of engagement into the Predator. Human judgement is just too complex. Though if avoiding civilian casualties were a big priority, there might be some progress with this.

On the "long tail" of human needs (batteries and so on), it is amazing just how many small, odd items are available at a good hardware store. Are there any "online" hardware stores?

The Chainik Hocker


Craig Thomler

Why not treat Predators as autonomous robots with their own processing power and Predator-Predator wireless communications ability.

As they swarm their processors can integrate to create a 'swarm' - effectively a larger single plane that the controller can operate in the same way as a single Predator.

The airborne processor could autonomously decide how to carry out orders from the ground - determining the positions of individual Predators in the swarm, deciding which Predators launch the actual missiles or how the entire formation carries out evasive manoeuvres.

John I.

Surely, a very interesting story.

But "ethical" issues do not count for anything?

I mean, ok, treating the whole notion of how to avoid killing civilians, etc, like "whooopsss!!...my mistake, I 'm sorry, next time I'll fix it..." isn't something that one should be a little puzled about?

Ok, I admit it...it's just my personal point of view.

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